More than 60% of 2023 Local Elections were Uncontested

MIDDLETON, Wis. /PRNewswire/ — Ballotpedia’s analysis of more than 10,000 local elections found that more than 60% went uncontested in 2023. Uncontested elections are any election where the number of candidates qualified for the ballot is equal to or less than the number of seats up for election.

Ballotpedia’s 2023 local election data includes a sample of elections taken from 17 states, which included offices such as school boards, city and local council members, county commissioners, judges, clerks, treasurers, auditors, and assessors.

Nationwide in 2022, 3% of congressional elections, 11% of state executive races, and 32% of state legislative races were uncontested. And in 2021, 5.9% of state legislative races were uncontested.

“While state and federal races may also be unopposed or uncontested, the real story is the sheer number of uncontested down ballot races. It’s not uncommon for these elections to be canceled because only one candidate is running. We’ve found this to be particularly true for local school board elections,” said Ballotpedia’s Editor-in-Chief, Geoff Pallay. “The trend we have been seeing is the smaller the population of the election jurisdiction, the more uncontested seats there tend to be. That’s a concern because canceled and uncontested elections are not a sign of a healthy, functioning democracy.”

The uncontested elections in our analysis largely broke down into six different categories. These are:

  • School boards – 4,527
  • Local council members – 4,483
  • Treasurer – 798
  • Clerk – 729
  • Local judge – 115
  • Mayor – 95

Elections for treasurer (87.3% uncontested) and clerk (85.6% uncontested) were the least contested. The rates of uncontested races for other offices were:

  • Local judge – 76.5%
  • Local councilmember – 57.6%
  • School boards – 53.4%
  • Mayor – 47.4%

The sample includes 10,911 elections, from 17 states: ArkansasColoradoDelawareGeorgiaKansasMaineMichiganMinnesotaNorth DakotaOhioOklahomaOregonPennsylvaniaSouth DakotaVirginiaWashington, and Wisconsin.

About Ballotpedia

Ballotpedia–the encyclopedia of American politics–is the nation’s most trusted source of unbiased information on politics, elections and policy. Founded in 2007, Ballotpedia has grown from a small group of dedicated volunteers working on a handful of ballot measures to an essential resource for voters, media and researchers. Ballotpedia is a nonprofit organization dedicated to serving the public interest in creating an educated, engaged electorate, and building a strong, healthy democracy. For free access to 420,000+ encyclopedic, professionally authored and curated articles, visit

©2023. Dr. Rich Swier. All rights reserved

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